Henry Cejudo revisited his fight with Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288 in an effort to understand how he came up short on the scorecards.
‘Triple C’ returned after nearly three years on the shelf with hopes of reclaiming the bantamweight world championship. Squaring off with reigning titleholder Aljamain Sterling, the ‘King of Cringe’ came up short in his title bid, suffering a closely-contested split decision defeat. Confused as to how he left the Prudential Center in New Jersey without UFC gold wrapped around his waist, Cejudo offered a fresh analysis of his May title tilt.
After five rounds, two scorecards were announced in favor of Sterling, a decision that came with a pinch of controversy as many had Cejudo doing enough, particularly in the fifth round, to secure a win. Instead, Cejudo suffered a loss that largely hinged on judge Derek Cleary’s confusing fifth-round score in favor of Sterling. The other two judges on duty, Michael Bell and Eric Colon scored the final round in favor of Cejudo.
Offering thoughts on the bout and the final result on his YouTube channel, Henry Cejudo recognized that there are opportunities for improvement, but he is admittedly confused by the fifth-round scorecard handed in by Cleary which ultimately cost him the contest.
“Overall I’m not happy with the fight. The way that I fought… I mean, there’s a lot of things that I would do different,” Cejudo said. “Especially knowing that I damn lost, but there’s a lot of opportunity where that I could actually get better. Particularly in that fight because I have experience and it has been three years, but there’s no excuse, man. If that’s what the judges thought.
“I think the craziest thing is I think if there’s a swing round out of all of them, I’d give it to round three, but all three judges saw me winning the third round. The question is this fifth round. Especially with the takedown. I mean, how is it that you counted it? But like I said guys, I’ll take the L. I will learn from the L. It was a competitive fight and I just feel like it’s really added fuel to my fire.”
Aljamain Sterling vs. Henry Cejudo official #UFC288 scorecard 📝
— Sportskeeda MMA (@sportskeedaMMA) May 7, 2023
Henry Cejudo Determined to Learn From His Mistakes and Come Back Better Than Before
Immediately following the bout, an understandably dejected Cejudo appeared to be ready to resume retirement. Less than 48 hours later, ‘Triple C’ expressed his desire for a quick turnaround and booked himself a scrap with rising bantamweight contender Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera at UFC 292 in August. Unfortunately, Cejudo was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a shoulder injury.
Despite the setback, Cejudo is still determined to climb back into the Octagon and prove that he can rise to the top as he once did.
“I have always said it and I will always continue to live by this; if I don’t win decisively, then maybe I don’t deserve to win. And I think that’s what’s made me special. Yeah, you can have razor-close fights like I did with Demetrious [Johnson] at UFC 227, but man, that’s Demetrious Johnson. One of the greatest of all time. I’ll take a victory over that guy any day of the damn week. That’s like fighting Jon Jones and having a razor-close thin victory.
“But whatever it is, the judges didn’t think so. A lot of people thought I won. I’ll take it, but at the end of the day I do have an L and I can also see why the judges more likely gave the fight to Aljamain. Some people thought it was 4-1. Some people thought it was 2-3 and some people thought that I actually won. I think my biggest thing is just that fifth [round]. That fifth kinda bothers me a little bit.”